Words by CBMR Athlete, Rob Vandervoort
I believe yoga is the single most effective form of snowboard conditioning. When I can dedicate enough time in my life to do at least a little bit of yoga each day, it helps reduce any back and neck pain and it makes me feel strong and athletic. Lastly, it gives me a sense of calm in life.
Yoga builds physical strength, especially in the core, hips and legs (great for snowboarding). Even more significant may be the mental strength that yoga encourages; it offers a moment to slow down from everyday life and let everything go. It also forces one to recognize any ailments or issues that that might be causing tightness or discomfort.
Over the years I have compiled a variety of stretches from various yoga classes into a flow that I call my “Shred Salutations.” When I do these stretches once or twice a day my body feels amazing. Sometimes I will emphasize certain stretches when I don’t have time to go through the entire sequence. These stretches are great for the road. I am commonly seen stretching at gas stations, rest areas, airports, bus stops, train terminals, chair lifts, you name it. It really helps.
When I practice yoga with regularity I feel more strength and body awareness and can even do more tricks on my snowboard. Yoga has helped me immensely with Method Grabs (a classic snowboard trick) which I could barely do before due to inflexibility. Not only do I feel like a better snowboarder when I do yoga, but I feel better in general. Yoga makes me feel strong and happy.
Here are a few off my favorite poses along with some of their benefits:
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Facilitates stability and balance, increases body awareness, improves good alignment and posture, strengthens the thighs, knees and ankles, reduces foot flatness, sustains the abdomen and gluteus.
Ado Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Extends the column, stretches the back side of the body, strengthens the entire body (particularly the arms and shoulders), reduces scapula rigidity and shoulder arthritis, soothes and relaxes the nervous system, lessons back pain, can reduce blood pressure, relaxing and calming.
Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I)
Corrects posture, strengthens the front of the body, the legs the back, the arms and shoulders, Elongates the front of the body, the abdomen, the psoas and the tensor facia lata, improves breathing capacity, lengthens Achilles tendon and the calf and stimulates and heats the body.
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
Stretches and opens the tensor facia lata of the hips, strengthens the arms and the muscles of the legs and back.
Strengthens wrists, arms, shoulders and back, elasticizes the spine, corrects bad posture, increases the expansion of the thoracic cage, elongates all the muscles of the front side of the body, improves breathing capacity, helpful for asthma, improves the digestive system and is beneficial in cases of minor depressive disorders.
For full shred salutations, see the video below.
I had help with my poses and postures as well as compiling information and filming from the very talented and knowledgeable Chelsey Wilson, as well as the book Hari Yoga by Marco Mandrino. Chelsey is an excellent snowboarder in addition to her being an expert massage therapist and very experienced yoga instructor.
Find Chelsey Wilson at www.earthysoulcrestedbutte.com.